research & development
Interactivity starts with the ability to sense people's actions.
R&D and Widgets
We do a lot of R&D.
Sometimes the research is motivated by the projects we work on, sometimes it's a new piece of technology that we get our hands on, or sometimes it starts in the studio with a seemingly harmless question "what if we...?". Every once in a while our efforts become widgets: useful pieces of software and hardware that have a life beyond a "one off."
Why so much R&D?
Interactivity starts with the ability to sense people's actions. In an interactive experience where guests and performers control outcomes of story, lights, sound, and other design elements, actions must be quantified. Once we do this, we can then derive movement, gestures, proximity, physical actions, group behavior, and location and use this information to trigger design. More importantly, we can use the information to drive the story. There is no single sensor or system that will create a turnkey solution for each and every interactive scenario, so we spend considerable time researching different sensing technologies and physical computing platforms, and quite often design and build our own widgets.
Once these sensors quantify actions, however, we need to translate these numbers into the desired outcomes.
That's where Diva comes in.
Diva is our proprietary library of middleware tools that helps us to do what we do. Started in the late 1990's, Diva has been, and continues to be, developed to be utilized throughout the design and production process. Work with Diva often starts with rapid prototyping, developing and exploring new ideas in the rehearsal and development phase, and continues through the final outcome, triggering and manipulating content in real time once a production, exhibition, or attraction opens. The middleware is also hardware agnostic, meaning that although at times we need to develop special code for Diva to talk to other proprietary systems, we have never tied ourselves to a particular proprietary protocol or technology or approach. This allows us to simply focus on the best tools and methods for solving a given problem.
Diva helps us make the connections in an interactive experience, whether it's between performer and audience, performer and performer, environment and guest, information and explorer, and even guest to guest.
For our clients this means we can build robust middleware and spec the most appropriate hardware quickly and cost-effectively, giving us more time and resources to focus on what's really important: the experience.